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St. John's Edge putting plans into practice

Joe Gibbons/The Telegram—After a season-opening road trip that was so busy that they weren’t able to conduct any full practices, St. John’s Edge head coach Jeff Dunlap and assistant Doug Plumb (background) are glad to be back home with a good deal of time to prepare the team for its home opener.
Joe Gibbons/The Telegram—After a season-opening road trip that was so busy that they weren’t able to conduct any full practices, St. John’s Edge head coach Jeff Dunlap and assistant Doug Plumb (background) are glad to be back home with a good deal of time to prepare the team for its home opener.

After successful season-starting road trip, NBL Canada team is back in St. John’s, preparing for Friday home-opener

A couple of days after his St. John’s Edge completed the first road trip in the National Basketball League of Canada franchise’s history, coach Jeff Dunlap couldn’t wait to get back into the gym to resume practicing.

Not that the Edge’s play across the Maritimes last week called for a re-tooling — St. John’s went 3-2 — but a gruelling season-opening trek from Charlottetown, P.E.I., to Halifax, to Sydney, N.S., to Moncton and Saint John, N.B., left the Edge with exactly zero minutes of practice time.
“Four days here at home this week gives us a chance to continue learning the system,” said Dunlap after arriving back in St. John’s following a 118-114 loss to the Saint John Riptide Friday, a game which came down to the waning seconds.
The Edge kicked off the team’s first-ever road swing last weekend with a win in P.E.I. over the Island Storm. St. John’s played less than 18 hours later, with travel, in Halifax Sunday before enjoying a day off prior to back-to-back-games in Sydney and Moncton Tuesday and Wednesday, closing out the swing in Saint John Friday night.
In total, the Edge covered 2,100 kilometres, excluding flights, of course,
“More work on the systems is vital for somebody like Carl (English), who’s only practised two days,” said Dunlap. “A lot of guys, like Rudy Joly and Grandy Glaze, joined us late and don’t know what we’re doing, which limits what we can run.
“With four days of workouts, I’m hoping we can do our bag of tricks a little bit more Friday, to execute some plays.”
The Edge are scheduled to play their home opener Friday night against the Niagara River Lions at Mile One Centre. Those teams play again Saturday night.


“With four days of workouts, I’m hoping we can do our bag of tricks a little bit more Friday, to execute some plays.”
St. John’s Edge head coach Jeff Dunlap

English, the Patrick’s Cove product, is establishing himself early as the team’s resident star, draining 32 points against the Riptide, after sitting out the Moncton game. English scored 25 in a win over the Cape Breton Highlanders and 36 in a loss to the Hurricanes in Halifax.
“He’s an elite shooter,” Dunlap said of English, “even at 36. It’s not old, but on the basketball stage, he’s an elder statesman. But his game is so polished and refined that he can still knock down a ton of shots and command a lot of attention from the other team.
“Hopefully, he’s locked and loaded to have a great year with us.”
Dunlap was happy with the team’s play on the road, which also served as a bonding experience for a group of a dozen players who were, for all intents and purposes, strangers two weeks ago.
“If you’d asked me to sign on the bottom line, to take a 3-2 record on the front end, I’d have taken it, especially given the two losses were down to the last possession of the game,” Dunlap said.
“We put ourselves in a position to win all five.”
In addition to the loss in Saint John Friday, the Edge dropped a 124-121 decision to the Hurricanes last Sunday.
“As far as showing some real grit for a team that is so relatively new, I think it’s terrific. I’m very pleased,” Dunlap said. “You know the old school of thinking, ‘if you can win half your games on the road and take care of business at home, you should be okay.’”
The Edge played the last three games without the services of Glaze, the rebound ace who is with the national team as its plays FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers in Halifax.
Glaze will play with Canada again today in Halifax against the Dominican Republic. He should be back in St. John’s for practices Wednesday and Thursday.

rshort@thetelegram.com

 

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